Liberal Amendments to Promote Transparency and Accountability Struck Down by Houston Government
November 1, 2023 – (Halifax, NS)
Liberal amendments to Bill 329, the Houston government’s controversial bill to give the housing minister sweeping authority over HRM, were defeated in the dark last night.
The Opposition rigorously debated and put forward 10 amendments to provide more accountability, promote consultation with marginalized groups, and consider sustainable population growth.
“The Premier and his housing minister want all of the power and none of the responsibility when it comes to the housing crisis. Attempting to ram this bill through in the wee hours of the night is the latest example of that.” said Opposition Leader Zach Churchill. “ Nova Scotians need assurance that the Premier isn’t usurping all authority on housing in HRM so he can pick favourites in terms of development. Accepting these amendments would have been an easy way to provide that transparency and ensure groups that have been marginalized are protected.” .
The amendments aimed to:
• Provide transparency around the minister’s decisions to override development approval by requiring all ministerial approvals, including reasoning, to be published.
• Publicize all details for developments that receive ministerial override, including the name of the developer, start and end date, number of units to be built, and how many units are affordable.
• Ensure the minister could not approve developments without necessary infrastructure expansions to meet expected capacity for transportation, first responders, schools and recreational facilities.
• Prohibit the minister from overriding the municipality without consulting it first.
• Have a commitment to consult African Nova Scotian communities before approving developments in their neighbourhoods.
The Conservative government used its majority to vote down all of the amendments.